“It’s hard to get ahead in this economy…”
STUART GORDON is one of the few current filmmakers whose work will be studied, with appropriate shock and awe, decades from now. His bold style and unique vision are thematically diverse, visually distinctive, graphically imaginative, pointedly satirical, socially relevant and unfailingly entertaining. In anticipation of Thrillville’s 12th Anniversary Show on April 9 at the Cerrito Speakeasy Theater in El Cerrito CA, featuring an undead double bill of Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space and Gordon’s macabre masterwork Re-Animator, I caught up with the Master of Mirthful Mayhem:
Thrill: Re-Animator is rumored for a remake. I am not against all remakes but this truly seems impossible to successfully pull off, since the original was a perfect confluence of timing and talent. Do you think the audience has become too shockproof for stuff like this?
SG: As far as I know the Re-Animator remake is only a rumor. But it’s true that remakes are seldom as good as the originals. The scariest movies are created outside the studio system on non-existent budgets by people who will stop at nothing to terrorize an audience. The remakes are done by corporate dweebs out to make a buck. No audience is shockproof. You just have to find new ways to shock them.
A face only HP Lovecraft could love (Dagon)
Thrill: Your films – Re-Animator and sequels, From Beyond, Robot Jox , Castle Freak, Dolls, Dagon (my personal favorite next to Re-Animator), etc – were truly revolutionary in terms of pushing the envelope. Do you think horror films have changed much (for better or worse) in the last 20 or so years?
SG: Every decade finds a new type of horror. In the eighties it was splatter. The nineties brought us Asian ghost stories. Now we are experiencing plague movies and torture porn (a term I find insulting). In my opinion this is a reaction to 9/11, and horror has never been more popular.
Barbara Crampton: From Beyond, indeed…
Thrill: I know your background is in theater. What and who are some of your filmmaking influences?
SG: I’m a big fan of Hitchcock, Polanski and Kubrick. But I also love Fellini and the Marx Brothers. My film school was Rosemary’s Baby. It taught me how shot composition can create a truly subjective film experience.
Thrill: I love all your work including non-horror (but still horrifying) films like King of the Ants, Edmond and most recently, Stuck. It seems like you have intentionally branched out. All of your films, regardless of genre, boast a really brilliant, dark sense of humor. Ever thought of making a flat-out comedy, or is subversive satire more your bag?
SG: All of my films end up being funny. Someone once said that life is too important to be taken seriously.
Thrill: What are you working on now? Is there really going to be a House of Re-Animator?
SG: I’m working on several projects at the moment, but unfortunately House of Re-Animator is not one of them. That film was planned to be a send-up of the Bush administration, but its time has come and gone along with the bastards who almost destroyed our country.
Thrill: Damn…Bush screws us again….cheers.
“Stuck” on you: not the Elvis song…